Texas Senate Votes Unanimously to Ban Animal Shelter Gas Chambers
“Killing dogs and cats with carbon monoxide is cruel, expensive and dangerous. The Senate just passed my bill to ban the practice. “
Kirk Watson via Facebook
The Texas State Senate voted unanimously this week to ban the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for killing cats and dogs at the state’s animal shelters, with the passage of Senate Bill 360, authored by State Sen. Kirk Watson. Senator Watson represents Austin, a city at the forefront of humane shelter policy. The House version of the bill, sponsored by State Rep. Eddie Lucio, passed a committee vote unanimously, so the last step for the bill to become law is a floor vote in the House.
An estimated 100,000 homeless, stray, feral and surplus cats and dogs are killed at Texas shelters every year. Only 30 shelters, mostly in rural areas, still employ gas chambers for killing. All other shelter euthanasias in the state are conducted with the injection of sodium pentobarbitol. According to a blog post by Karen Brooks Harper in the Dallas.com online version of the Dallas Morning News, “Prior to the Texas Euthanasia Act of 2003, Texas shelters were killing dogs and cats by drowning, shooting, clubbing, strangling, and by carbon monoxide poisoning from truck and car exhaust systems hooked up to makeshift plywood boxes. The 2003 law prohibited most of these methods, limiting shelters to two methods: carbon monoxide gassing or sodium pentobarbital (euthanasia by injection/EBI).” At least, those methods were allowed and may have been employed by less enlightened shelters.
Senator Watson is quoted by KXAN saying, “SB 360 is an effort to assure humane end-of-life treatment for homeless animals. As a pet owner, I’ve made end-of-life choices that demonstrated sensitivity and respect for the animals I’ve loved. Animals living in shelters deserve that same consideration.”